My job shadowing experience.
The welcoming of the head-teacher and the coordinator.
My name is Lea Sardella and I teach Mathematics at Liceo Boggio Lera in Catania and I can say that after so many years of job experience, this one was unexpected and surprisingly pleasing . In August 2016, I took part in an Erasmus+ project for strategic partnership between schools named “My way, your way, our shared cultural identities” which also involved a job-shadowing . The school I visited is located in Dalby, near Lund, in Sweden.
I have to say that this experience has been very important for me on both personal and professional aspects.
At first I was reluctant because of my English skills. To be honest my preparation corresponds to a very shy B1 level so having to face a week working with colleagues who always use English, frightened me a bit. I was greatly encouraged by the presence of the Italian coordinator of the project who was with us for the first two days. Her presence facilitated the inclusion of my colleagues and me in the new school environment and helped us to present our school during the first day activities and then the courtesy of the Swedish colleagues did the rest.
For a week I observed the work that the Swedish colleagues did in the classrooms with their students and this is what I recorded.
As regards to the teaching methods they were differently organized in the school: timetables, bells, teachers’ rooms as well as students’ spaces. I saw the students were very well organized and very responsible when attending the school assembly and in electing their representatives for the school bodies. Inside their classrooms, they were very polite and responsible. They attracted their teacher’s attention by raising their hands and quietly waited for the teacher to give replies.
A difference in teachers’ behavior struck me most. If students had to be scolded for absent-mindedness or because they chatted, they did it in a soft way whereas an Italian teacher would use a harsh tone of voice. So I may say that they interrelate in a more authoritative way.
A very important difference is that the Swedish students are divided into three levels, and according to their skills, they attend classes. Generally, the teacher interacts with students asking questions and waits for them to reply and continue. Another difference I noticed was a more practical teaching for both Maths and Physics while in our Italian school we tend to be more theoretical. Lesson time is organized differently. In Nyvångskolan the lesson lasted less than an hour while we work on the 60’ schedule. To finish what I consider a good advantage for teachers is the fact that they have their own classroom where they keep everything they need for their lessons, the well equipped classrooms and the canteen where teachers and students socialize and have lunch together.
To conclude, I have to thank the teachers I job-shadowed , Heléne the Swedish coordinator and the school all for having welcomed me warmly and for having given me the opportunity to think about my job in a different way. Also, I am pleased for the fact that I have improved my English and although this experience has come late in my professional carrier, I think that young teachers should have these chances when they start working at school to have different perspectives of what education is in other parts of Europe.
Touring old Lund with the Catalan colleagues and Heléne and Jens.